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Trojans beat RedHawks, advance to second round
Late season strength of schedule had the Orland High volleyball team ready for its first-round test Tuesday against host Colusa High in the Northern Section Division IV playoffs.
For No. 8 seed Colusa (18-12, 9-1 Mid-Valley League) the loss ends their season and for ninth-seeded Orland (18-17, 3-5 Butte View League), the victory sets up a match against No. 1 Sutter (21-7, 8-0 BVL) on Tuesday in Sutter.
Orland won the first two games before Colusa rallied back in the third, forcing the Trojans to win the fourth game in front of a stirred up RedHawks crowd. The Trojans won 25-18, 25-15, 23-25 and 25-16.
The Trojans entered the match battle-tested in recent weeks against a tough Butte View League schedule, while Colusa won a share of the Mid-Valley League championship against Division V and VI teams.
"That was a big deal, we actually worked on that in practice quite a bit, how quick they would be compared to what we've seen in the past," said Colusa coach JayAnne Saso. "The Los Molinos tournament helped us quite a bit, but seeing it in the beginning of the year and not seeing it until the end makes it tough."
The RedHawks faced their quickest opponent in more than a month and struggled to contain the Trojans' outside hitters.
"When we were researching them we didn't see any of their hitters show up so we just weren't expecting this," Colusa middle blocker Emily Mobley said.
Mobley and Orland middle blocker Willow Hibbard waged war at the net, both scoring four kills in the first game before the Trojans pushed the ball to the outside in Game 2.
Colusa led the second game 12-11 after a Teale Stacey block, but an ace by Cindy Keomounepane, a kill by Makayla James and a block by Hibbard started a 14-3 run that outside hitter Becky Ramirez ended with three kills.
Early in the third game the RedHawks pulled away to a 15-6 lead after two kills and a block by Stacey, but the Trojans turned to senior outside-hitter Tyler Schermer, who connected for six kills and gave Orland a 20-19 lead. Colusa fought off the late charge to win the game with an ace and another kill by Stacey, before Mobley ended it with a kill.
"We just had to work around (their middle block), we've been practicing a lot for that, like all of practice yesterday actually, so I'm glad that we actually got around it," Schermer said.
Though the Trojans lost Game 3, coming back from so far down after making so many unforced errors helped slow the RedHawks' momentum going into game four and quieted the loud Colusa crowd, according to Orland coach Miranda Coughlin.
"I told them it's huge right now to shift their momentum because they've got a big crowd, they've got home- court advantage and we've really got to take care of it in Game 4," she said.
Kenya Espinoza served two aces and presided over a six-point run early in the fourth game as the Trojans jumped out to a 8-3 lead and the RedHawks never put together a prolonged run on the lead.
"I looked at (Colusa's) roster before we came and I knew they were a lot bigger than we were. My girls are little but they're mighty. They've played with a lot of heart all season and that's just exactly what I told them tonight," Coughlin said.
Schermer led the Trojans with 13 kills and four aces, Ramirez added 12 kills, and Hibbard had eight kills and seven blocks.
Mobley led the RedHawks with 14 kills and three blocks, Stacey made six kills and four blocks, and Mattie Myers served two aces.
Orland's next opponent, Sutter, won both regular season meetings between the two teams and won the Butte View League title.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or email@example.com.